Your relationship with God is secure because, through Christ, you are forgiven and accepted by God. However, God also desires for you to walk closely with him and communicate with him throughout each day so you can experience his love.

When we choose to sin, our relationship (our position as God’s child) is not affected, but our fellowship with him is interrupted. Sin does not prevent us from being loved by God, but it does prevent us from experiencing it. Sin is more than acts such as cheating, lying, or immoral behavior. Such actions are only the results of an attitude of sin. A simple definition of sin is: doing what we want instead of what God wants — either by our actions or our attitudes.

We all need to experience God’s forgiveness for our sinful attitudes and actions in order to walk in his love.

The basis of God’s love and forgiveness

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).

Christ’s death is the sole basis for forgiveness. It is thanks to him that we can live a proper relationship with God. His death is also the basis for experiencing that forgiveness in our daily fellowship with God. Read the following passage:

You were dead in sin and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then he gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sin, and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sin and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross (Colossians 2:13-14, TLB).

In the day when this was written, “list of sins” meant an itemized bond nailed to the prison door. It listed every crime for which the prisoner had been convicted. When the sentence was served or restitution was paid, the authorities would remove the list and write, “paid in full.” The prisoner used this as proof that he could never be tried for those crimes again. The believer who trusts Christ’s payment for sin can never be tried again. His sins have been “paid in full.” He has received a full pardon from God.

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:10-12)

You can experience God’s love and forgiveness every day

Even though you are totally forgiven, you still need to deal with your sins on a day-to-day basis in order to experience continuing fellowship with God.

1 John 1:9 says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Confession: Agreeing with God about sin*

When God tells you that something you have done is sin, confess it. Confession involves at least three steps:

By turning back to God full heartedly and turning away from your sin (repentance), you will once again experience his love and be reminded of the forgiveness provided by Christ’s death on the cross. Instead of feeling guilty or condemned, you will know that your fellowship with God is fully restored.

Confession: Putting it into practice

Right now or tonight before you go to bed:

Confession: Experiencing the result

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” — and you forgave the guilt of my sin (Psalm 32:5).

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).

Trusting in God’s great love and forgiveness allows Christians to enjoy a deepening fellowship with him.

You can respond to the questions below to journey with a mentor and receive prayer. You’ll be able to talk through what you have learned.

This article, as well as this series, is an adaptation by The Life Project of Dr. Bill Bright’s material on Knowing Jesus Personally.
updated September 2019

Photo Credit: Caleb Jones